All-female goth glam, future shoegaze stars, anticipated solo projects, and electrifying live energy. We round up the biggest releases of the past year and cast an eye to some of the artists we predict will be the sound of 2024.
From Sufjan Stevens' striking return, Caroline Polachek's second full-length solo record, Yuseff Dayes' much-awaited debut, and the crowning of Nation of Language as our Album of the Year, 2023 delivered another crop of outstanding releases and great music of all genres.
As the year draws to a close, we take great pleasure in reflecting on our Rough Trade highlights and revisiting the LPs which flew out of our racks, before taking a look at the calendar ahead. With 2024's schedule already bursting with long-awaited returns, potential comeback records and promising debuts, the new year is set to be another one for the books...
The most popular LPs at Rough Trade in 2023.
Lewis Capaldi delivered our biggest selling album of 2023, with his sophomore record Broken By Desire To Be Heavenly Sent, driven in large part by four wonderful out-store shows, two each at Marble Factory and The Level.
We produced 250 individual Rough Trade Exclusive vinyl titles in 2023, the best-selling of which were:
boygenius. Perhaps to no-one's surprise, the super-trio had a slam-dunk with debut full-length album the record. We were thrilled to have a gorgeous marbled vinyl exclusive from one of the most talked-about bands of 2023 and, boy, did you go wild for it.
De La Soul's classic 1989 album 3 Feet High and Rising. Arriving in March via a glorious Rough Trade Essential Edition vinyl pressing, we sold close to an incredible 6000 copies and rightly inducted it into our Essential range, where it'll likely firmly remain until the end of time.
Daughter, Overmono, The WAEVE, Sufjan Stevens, Romy and Baxter Dury all released albums in 2023 that were crowned Album of the Month, heading up our Rough Trade Club subscription, inclusive of a Rough Trade Exclusive vinyl pressing.
Finally, we couldn't reflect on 2023 without mention of a certain American singer-songwriter whose Limited Edition LP was the catalyst for a Record Store Day queue that moved more Swift-ly than ever. In a storied career year for the mega star, just what will Taylor Swift give us next? TVs of Reputation and her 2006 self-titled debut are surely due.
2024 Hot Tips: Debuts
An opening statement for a new generation just getting started.
Emerging from the currently bustling Irish indie scene, garage punk four-piece SPRINTS have really caught our eye (and ears) with their slew of EPs so far. Energetic and abrasive with driving guitars and spiky punk poetry, the band's sound has elements of Pixies, Bauhaus, Siouxsie Sioux, and LCD Soundsystem, a brilliant concoction of gothic-tinged melodies and a driving bass. We are more than ready to welcome this band with three Rough Trade in-stores in January 2024, including a live London debut of the new album at Rough Trade East on release day.
Another band with an impressive set of material so far, we've had Folly Group on such a tight repetition since their first string of releases in 2021, that it's hard to believe that this is only finally the debut album now. Intuitive, percussion-led soundscapes drawing from dub, hip-hop, and electronic dance but commanded by a growling tenor, the group offers something different to the ever-burgeoning post-punk and we can't wait to get stuck into this much-awaited full project since their signing with experimental tastemakers Ninja Tune.
Forming a reputation from their buzzy live shows and strong goth-glam, medieval visual identity, The Last Dinner Party has been the talk of the town for the last half of 2023. Moving quickly from London's finest independent music venues to supporting Florence and the Machine and playing at Glastonbury it's easy to see why the band is being touted as on to big things. At Rough Trade we have garnered similar opinions, thrilled to introduce the band to our Rough Trade On The Rise curation. We wait with bated breath for the release of Prelude To Ecstasy, after the instantly more-ish, dark guitar-pop of lead single Nothing Matters - high hopes for the sound of 2024.
Our favourite new indie sleaze icon. Master Peace, aka Peace Okezie, has undergone several evolutions before landing at his moreish pop-punk sound. The punk-leaning rapper cut his teeth on grime rhythms but has since then developed and distinguished new sound that firmly fits into an indie rock label (although continuing to juxtapose rap and danceable, bass-driven electronics). We've had a proper taste of Peace's rockstar energy already, commanding the crowds outside Rough Trade West on Record Store Day and the stage at Rough Trade East, celebrating the release of his EP Peace of Mind. We can't wait to see what 2024 has in store for this bonafide riser.
A name that has very much been on our radar since the release of his debut collaborative project with Charlotte Adigery, Albums of the Year 2022 title Topical Dancer. Bolis Pupul steps out from the project to release his solo debut Letter to Yu. An album of an overtly personal nature, tackling universal themes. Belgian-based Bolis applies his storytelling ability to unpack his Chinese heritage, revisiting his family's story and concepts of grief, ancestry and belonging. We are confident to expect that, whilst emotional, this album will present a strong pull to the dance floor, nurtured by Bolis' longstanding relationship with DEEWEE (the label and studio ran by the legendary Soulwax).
Also on our radar:
Legendary Brooklyn rapper-producer Erick The Architect (Flatbush Zombies) announces his much anticipated solo debut.
Hotly tipped rising alt-folksters Tapir! present their debut album, The Pilgrim, Their God and the King of My Decrepit Mountain on Heavenly.
London via Bristol and Buckinghamshire band Home Counties are set to be the hottest new indie dance act, recording and releasing their debut Exactly As It Seems, with new member Lois Kelly introduced to the fold.
Future shoegaze stars, we are excited to see the arrival of Irish alt/rock collective NewDad's debut album, MADRA, and expect it will be every bit as hypnotic as the band's material so far.
2024 Hot Tips: Returns
The end of extended hiatuses, surprise comebacks, and new material well worth the wait.
The psych rock band's fifth album and first in six years! Leaving their major label (Columbia) and signing with respected indie Mom + Pop, MGMT describe the album as "a group of songs about love and change, first and foremost". We expect the same magical aura we obsessed over with Oracular Spectacular, equally joyous and epic tracks, with the production skills of Patrick Wimberly (Solange, Lil Yachty, MGMT), Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never) and Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Interpol, Spoon). The album also includes the first ever MGMT song with a feature, courtesy of Christine and the Queens.
A long 14-year wait, but the Portland pop/indie-rock trio (aka Beth Ditto, Nathan 'Brace Paine' Howdeshell, and Hannah Billie) return. The album marks a reunion with acclaimed producer Rick Rubin, who previously produced their 2009 album Music For Men. Already previewed by album single Crazy Again, this album will reintroduce the band's infectious energetic electro-pop and their familiar imitable chemistry. We’re super thrilled to be supporting the album with our first-ever Rough Trade Europe live event, an exclusive Gossip Album Release Show in Berlin in 2024.
A new chapter for one of the UK's most influential bands but still an intended return to their roots. The new album coincides with the band's 40th anniversary, Working with a freer form with more motorik rhythms and jazz influences, the album's lead single Jamcod gives us a taste of new experimentation alongside their longstanding primal rock sound.
Don't miss out on the particularly attractive Rough Trade Exclusive black with blue, red, and white splatter vinyl.
Grandaddy have been away for a long time but this is a very welcomed return. The first album since 2017's Last Place and the tragic death of their bassist Kevin Garcia. This new project is a noticeable departure from their previous projects yet still guided by maestro storyteller and singer Jason Lytle.
With the idea conceived by Lytle during a drive through the Nevada desert and a classic country station on the radio, the album explores the possibilities of combining the bluegrass waltz while adding layers of dense synthesizers and the electronics of new wave, hence the album title, Blu Wav, a literal mash-up of 'bluegrass' and 'new wave'. Prepare yourself for a symphonic swirl of lofi sonics, found sounds, and perfect, power pop guitar tones.
"Now the dust has settled and I’ve got to re-enter the world of Big Sigh, and I’m excited. Stepping into a new world, moving forward, chipping away. Breathe in, breathe out. Big sigh."
Described as the hardest record Marika has ever made, we can't wait to hear this new material from the artist whose unique brand of British nu-folk has always been so mesmerising to us. A debut with Chrysalis Records, Hackman pours her entire self into this, evident from the singles so far, as on No Caffeine Hackman plays every instrument save for the brass and strings on the single and has produced it too, along with additional production from Sam Petts-Davies (Thom Yorke, Warpaint) and long-term collaborator Charlie Andrew (Alt-J).
Also on our radar:
Radiohead's Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood continue as The Smile with Wall of Eyes, set to release on XL in the first month of the New Year
Also amongst the year's earliest releases is Welsh five-piece Casey, the post-hardcore rockers describing their new album How To Disappear as “vocally and musically the most ambitious we’ve ever been, but still feels quintessentially Casey”.
Rough Trade On The Rise alum and Leeds' finest Yard Act are set to follow up their critically acclaimed debut record The Overload with Where's My Utopia?
From punk to drum and bass, grime and rock, Bob Vylan create a sound that reflects the state of the nation and continue to thrive independently releasing. We can't wait to hear more of the story in their next album, Humble As The Sun.
The mighty IDLES will make a righteous return with TANGK and embark on a number of massive shows for their extended 2024 world tour.
We have already been fortunate enough to hear Sleater Kinney's forthcoming release Little Rope live at our album launch show with them at The Dome this past summer, and safe to say this album has been on our minds since. This will be a surefire highlight in the vital band's nearly 30-year-long career.
Long-awaited, Brit-pop icons The Libertines rise from the ashes to release their first new album in nine years, All Quiet On The Eastern Esplanade. A quartet of unlikely lads gathered from their new-found homes in France, Denmark, Margate, and London to solder a stronger-than-ever internal bond.
Liverpool risers Courting release their sophomore album New Last Name, and we are prepared to expect the unexpected with a collection of their most contained pop songs, and strangest experiments sat side by side.
2024 Hot Tips: Predictions
Our hot take on who's been teasing new music for 2024.
It's about time for this one. In 2022 we saw the NYC dance-punk band release their first new material in five years New Body Rhumba for Noah Baumbach’s White Noise soundtrack. With these singles out over a year ago now and All Points East announcing LCD as their headliners for 2024 we can only hope that the band is now back together for a full new project. For now we only have a taste of the LCD action with James Murphy stepping back in the studio for Dancer, a collaborative track on the forthcoming IDLES album.
The most joyous chaos, Lynks has been a rising star who cannot go unnoticed. Drag, music, and theatre collide in Lynks' unique smash of queer industrial pop. Seeing the artist take the stage for our End of Year party in 2022, it became pretty clear of their audacious pull. Now that Lynks has signed with our friends at Heavenly and shared an exciting taste of what is to come with a recent slew of singles, we are holding our breath that a debut album will be on the cards for 2024.
“It’s an amazing label, and it’s very cool to see a label that’s so established and respected supporting someone that’s such a fucking weird left-field artist like me."
Lynks, Rolling Stone July 2023
This buzzy band has firmly marked themselves out as ones to watch, more than just another post-punk band on the scene. Fronted by a vital voice in Lily Fontaine, the inventive lyricist tackles personal identity, and rural life, celebrating the mundane in a typical post-punk, noir-esque fashion but with engaging wit and authenticity. Having already released on Nice Swan, Speedy Wunder and now Island, we expect the Leeds outfit to be dropping their debut album early next year.
An eclectic gothic amalgam of shoegaze, Irish trad folk and rock, Cork newcomers Cardinals are the latest to join indie tastemaker So Young Records' roster and we are stoked for the arrival of their project Roselands in February. Our eyes are peeled for this rising Irish band's debut proper.
Chicago's Brigitte Call Me Baby are causing quite the stir within indie rock circles, as their effortlessly romantic sound and frontman Wes Leavins' wistful vocals labelling them a Smiths-influenced band. More than just this comparison, BCMB have many flavours and flourishes which sees them carve their path. Their emotionally authentic lyricism and hypnotic vocals find a connection, reaching the hearts of their listeners. Supporting fellow Rough Trade On The Rise inductees The Last Dinner Party on their US tour, Brigitte Calls Me Baby are gaining momentum and the release of their first EP on ATO puts the band in good stead for an engaging debut in 2024.
Also on our radar for 2024:
South London six-piece Blue Bendy are set to release more oddball anthems into the world. After signing to new label State 51, fresh from touring with fellow South London guitar band Squid we expect a full follow-up to the acclaimed EP Motorbike.
A close collaborator of the legendary Jai Paul and a member of his label Paul Institute. Having released her fourth single, I Care, a beautifully intimate Motown-inspired duet with Jai Paul, we are excited to see what's next for Fabiana Palladino's shadowy spectral R&B sound.
Fresh and intriguing, the mysterious Ebbb are making a name for themselves with their spectacle of a performance. Hypnotising orchestral-style vocals meet tribal drumming - like a choir boy fronting Animal Collective. Managed by Dan McEvoy (Black Country, New Road, and O.) we expect big things for this project, featuring members of Kyoto Kyoto and Butch Cassidy.
This is most certainly a comeback year for NYC indie-rockers Vampire Weekend, as they have pretty much confirmed that their fifth album (first album since 2019) is completed. They have already been announced for Barcelona’s Primavera Sound and Kilby’s Block Party, and likely have many more festival dates in the calendar, so it's very possible a headline tour for the new album is also in the works.
The legendary singer-songwriter's most recent full-length was released in 2011, and aside from one-off concerts, the star has been focusing on his acting career, with little indication of a significant musical return. However, the icon's longtime music agent Paul Charles let slip in his recent memoir that Tom has been back in the studio, leaving his steadfast cult following eager to hear official news of a new album.
Another South London band storming to success, Fat Dog's rowdy live reputation precedes them: part post-punk rave and part Death Grips. Since catching them at End of the Road last year and hearing their killer debut single, we have been very excited to see what this band can do and expect a debut proper as they settle into their new label home at Domino.
Mary and the Junkyard
The rising indie rock trio have been creating a buzz around themselves in London, appearing on The Windmill lineups alongside their fellow indie risers Fat Dog, and selling out the venue. Beyond London, they have performed at Green Man, End of the Road and now released their first single on AMF Records - a dreamy, grungey, shoegaze-inspired number - and we can't wait to hear more of their sound.